Interview with Austin Peralta of Brainfeeder
Austin Peralta is son of innovative skater and film maker Stacy Peralta and is in his own right an incredible composer, keyboardist and pianist. At a very young age, he has already shared the stage with legendary artists like Chick Corea and has already released a few albums. Having lessons very young gave him the skills and techniques to enter the realm of precision and discipline on a high level. He displays the full vocabulary of sound within the realms of jazz, experimental music and the art of composition. As seen in any of his live performances, he displays a vast wealth of experience in the improvisational approach as well.
A direct link to the past achievements of the jazz world, Austin Peralta is a very important contributor to modern culture. Austin is now a part of the Brainfeeder label created by nephew of Alice Coltrane, Flying Lotus. There is no future without a past and Austin Peralta stretches those past foundations into the future like all the other Brainfeeder artists. Below is a brief interview we conducted with Austin about his latest album “Endless Planets”, his recordings with Ron Carter and his favorite piano and keyboard driven records. Enjoy. ~ Erik Otis
You have just released your 3rd full length album with the prestigious Brainfeeder label created by Flying Lotus. How did you come to link with the label?
My connection to Lotus & the Brainfeeder label was instigated by Strangeloop, another incredible artist on the roster. He introduced me to Lotus and we had an immediate connection, both musically and otherwise. I gave him a copy of some music I had recently recorded and he loved it. That became the Endless Planets release and the rest is history.
The musical compositions for “Endless Planets” are very organic and rich in tone, what type of writing process did you take and how much input did the other musicians on this album have in the end results?
My process is often one that is catalyzed by pressure. I had a date booked to go into the studio to record my original music. Having that deadline really pushed me to compose the music that comprised the record. As for the specific structures, my music had pre-composed melodies and forms, but much of the meat of the music was created spontaneously via the improvisations given masterfully by the fantastic members of the band. That’s the beauty of improvised ensemble music…the end result is more about the input of the players than about the compositions themselves I think.
Music is a very extensive language, one of those that extends to every corner of this world. What types of places in this universe whether here on earth or elsewhere did you have in mind when creating this new record “Endless Planets”?
To me music in its purest form is just a reflection of the universe in all its seemingly different, yet truly self-similar iterations. I don’t necessarily go into the composing process with an agenda in mind or an intention to try and represent anything too specific. Generally, the music is a reflection of life circumstances at that given moment in time, which on a more macro scale is a reflection of the circumstances the universe has created at that time. My intention in calling the album “Endless Planets” was to suggest the vastness of our universe, its inherent beauty, and how that is reflected on all levels, both in the cosmos and in our lives.
You are a part of a large community of musicians in the Los Angeles region. What have been some of your favorite experiences with improvisational spur of the moment gigs?
There have been countless instances of inspiring musical moments in my life. I couldn’t pick a favorite because they’re all so unique and beautiful. They happen all the time and for that I must say I’m truly blessed.
On your first record “Maiden Voyage” you had the great privilege to play with legendary bassist Ron Carter. How did you link with him for this album?
Playing with Ron was a blessing and an incredible learning experience for me that was both humbling and rewarding. My record label at the time helped me to facilitate that.
Was this album recorded with the band playing together or in separate takes?
Live, of course.
How was Ron’s presence when recording?
Ron was a total sweetheart to me and couldn’t have made the session any better. He played his ass off as he always does.
Growing up you received lessons at a very young age, who were the first musicians to really spark your creativity and open your eyes to really wanting to dedicate yourself to understanding music?
I started out as a classical music freak. Most of my influences then would have been Chopin, Mozart, Tchaikovsky, Beethoven, etc. I was extremely touched by the Romantic period of classical music.
What are your favorite piano/keyboard heavy records?
Ahmad Jamal – The Awakening, Herbie Hancock – Maiden Voyage, McCoy Tyer – The Real McCoy, Keith Jarrett – Up For It, Chick Corea – Complete “Is” Sessions, Andrew Hill – Point of Departure, Anything Art Tatum, Bill Evans – Turn Out The Stars (Live @ The Village Vanguard 1980)
We look forward to more albums, thanks for your time Austin.
Video Uploaded by LACherryBlossomMusic
Austin Peralta Endless Planets CD release concert, Eagle Rock, California. 2.11.2011
Miguel Atwood-Derguson – Viola, Sam Gendel – Alto Sax, Ryan McGillicuddy – Bass, Zack Harmon – Drums, Ernest Blount – Electronic Manipulation
Produced, Directed, Shot & Edited by Joni Caldwell
Second Camera John Couch